Odd Smell, Oil Light, Lots of symptoms - 2002 Ford Taurus



I recently received a second hand 2002 Ford Taurus with 215000 miles. When I got it, the heat didn’t work, though the fans and A/C did.

In the 6 months since then I’ve had the oil changed, the radiator flushed 3 times, and the alternator replaced.

Last month the car began to overheat. After letting it cool off, I found that the coolant reserve was empty. I topped it off and the next time I drove the car, it quickly overheated again, this time with plumes of steam coming from the hood.

The mechanic replaced the coolant pump and (I believe) the timing chain. Since then the car has not overheated. When I left, the mechanic told me that if I detected an odd smell, it would probably be the anti-freeze that sprayed under the hood when the coolant pump went and that it would go away in a week or so.

1 month later. I’m still detecting the same smell that I was upon picking my car up from the mechanic. Also after driving for at least 15 minutes, when I put the car into Park, the check oil light flickers on and off faintly.

I’ve checked the oil, but the oil level is fine.

Also - probably not related, the line from the windsheild washer fluid tank has been cut under the hood. I’m not sure if the fluid could be spraying onto the engine, causing the smell.

Any thoughts on what’s going on?


Looks like 3 things are “going on”

The washer pump is squirting washer fluid (mostly water) all over the engine. Solution, replace the cut hose.

With 200K miles, the engine is getting worn out and low oil pressure at idle is a symptom of that. If you are using 5w-20 oil, try 10W-40 and see if the light stays off.

Have your cooling system pressure tested for leaks. If the heater is still not working, have a mechanic check to see if the “blend door” is working properly. This is a heat control damper located behind your dashboard…


Thank you, I’ll try that - can the washer fluid hose be replaced relatively easily?


"coolant reserve was empty. I topped it off and the next time I drove the car, it quickly overheated again, this time with plumes of steam coming from the hood."
This is the 2nd post on here today where the OP has filled the overflow jug instead of the radiator
A Ford with that many miles on it and and running hot a few times will be boound to have low oil pressure. Also, the smell of burnt oil probably will remain with you for awhile.


Yes, the washer line should be a cheap and easy repair. Take a piece of the existing hose with you to make sure you get the correct inner diameter size and ask for windshield washer hose. Typically, they sell a box of it in about 6 to 10 feet for around $5. They also should have bulk hose and just ask for 6 feet of it. Then, on the car, simply pull the cut line off, and run the new line in it’s place. You should be able to route the hose through the same hose retainers, and trim off the extra line you don’t need.


A Taurus of this age is actually properly filled through the overflow jug. The radiator on these Tauruses does not have a cap on the radiator (it is on the overflow jug), so you have to add coolant there slowly until the system is filled.

While it wouldn’t explain the oil light, it is worthwhile checking the overflow jug for cracks. It’s a pretty common failure on high-mileage Tauruses of this generation, and also very easy to fix. The cracks often open only up only when the tank is pressurized (when the car is warm), and then will squirt coolant onto the engine.